U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 20071 / April 6, 2007
SEC v. Alexis Ampudia, a/k/a Alexis Geancarlos Ampudia Navalo, a/k/a Alexis Emias, a/k/a Alexis Rojas, Civil Action No. 07-CV-2762 (HB) (S.D.N.Y.)
SEC Files Emergency Action Against Alexis Ampudia to Stop an Identity Theft "Pump and Dump" Scheme
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it obtained a temporary restraining order and an emergency asset freeze to halt a market manipulation scheme that used stolen identities of innocent victims to manipulate the markets.
In an emergency federal court action filed April 5, 2007, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the Commission charged Alexis Ampudia, a 22-year old Panamanian citizen and resident of Brooklyn, New York, with conducting a fraudulent scheme involving the manipulation of the prices of numerous securities by using brokerage accounts he had opened in the names of identity theft victims, without their knowledge or consent. The Commission alleges that, since November 2006, Ampudia made at least $140,000 in unlawful profits by manipulating the securities of at least five publicly traded companies.
Acting on the Commission's request, the Court issued a temporary restraining order which, among other things, prohibits Ampudia from further violations of the federal securities laws, freezes his assets and orders the repatriation of funds taken out of the United States.
The Commission's complaint alleges that Ampudia first purchased shares of small, thinly-traded companies, with low share prices, through his own online trading account. Immediately or soon thereafter, using online brokerage accounts Ampudia had opened in the names of identity theft victims, Ampudia placed a series of large purchase orders for the targeted securities, for the sole purpose of artificially increasing the price of the securities he had just purchased at lower prices. These purchases created buying pressure and the false appearance of legitimate trading activity, which caused the price of the securities to greatly increase. Ampudia then, at a profit, sold the shares he had earlier purchased in his own account.
The complaint charges Ampudia with violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Exchange Act Rule 10b-5. The Commission's Complaint seeks permanent injunctions against future violations of the foregoing federal securities laws, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus pre-judgment interest thereon, and civil penalties.
The Commission acknowledges the assistance of the New York County District Attorney's Office, New York City Police Department, and United States Secret Service in this matter.